Saturday, September 23, 2017


This week I was afforded an interesting perspective that left me in awe.  As we help our neighbors recover from Hurricane Harvey, one of the things my wife Lori and I have determined to do is to provide lunches and cold drinks to the homeowners, volunteers, and workers in our neighborhood.  Hundreds of homes were damaged by the flood waters so every day there are many working throughout our neighborhood as this community recovers from the hurricane.  We've had an outpouring of donations and volunteers to help us provide supplies, tools, food, and drinks over the course of the last few weeks.

While Lori and I usually ride side-by-side on a golf cart (loaned to us by Conroe Golf Cars), on this particular day we had a large load of donated lunches that could not all fit on the golf cart.  So, I tagged along behind her in our car loaded with hot meals.  As I followed her, I watched.  I watched as she honked the horn and yelled,

"Do you need a cold drink? I've got hot lunches today!"

While there are new volunteer faces everyday, the homeowners she sees everyday are the same.  She knows them all by name.  She knows what they like.  She knows their stories.  She knows what they need.  She listens to them.  She talks with them.  She cries with them.  She prays with them. 

I watched as she waved to them as she drove down the street.  I watched as they smiled as she approached.  I watched as she never just handed out food or drink.  She had to talk to every last one of them.  Some longer than others but all were left with the sense that if they needed to talk or share, they had somebody that was there for them.  At one particular house, a young lady came out to the street to meet her.  While I could not hear the conversation, I could tell the young lady was upset.  She cried a little as she shared what was on her heart.  Lori just listened.  5 minutes went by.  10 minutes went by.  I lost track of time to be honest, but it was a long visit.  A very long visit.  A county worker showed up that needed to talk to the young lady otherwise I'm convinced Lori would have been there much longer.  When she was done, she jumped back in the cart and off she went to the next house. 

I'm not sure how long this trip was but it was quite lengthy for sure.  It was Lori's second trip of the day in that little red golf cart and she was in no big hurry.  For Lori, this is not just about rebuilding structures.  It's about people.  It's about loving people.  It's about encouraging those who need encouraged.  It's about listening to those who need to talk.  It's about praying with those who are overwhelmed by it all.  It's about providing some form of normalcy to those who have very little "normal" right now.  Someone wanted a Coca-Cola, another wanted Cream Soda, so Lori helped make it happen.  

She doesn't try to do everything.  She finds out what people need and she then leans on the many volunteers who are able to meet those needs.  The people volunteering throughout this process have been amazing.  Lori, gets so excited when she connects someone who has a need with someone who can meet that need.  I cannot think of one need that has gone unmet as volunteers step up to meet needs when they are made known.  We've witnessed cars being donated, appliances being donated, lawn services donated, clothes, food, supplies, and on and on the list goes.  For the better part of a month, our house has resembled a Walmart or Lowes more than a house because of all the donations that have poured in.  And with every donation, Lori gets a little choked up because she knows that somebody on her daily route will benefit from the generous gifts of others. 

It's early on Saturday morning as I write this and she is already on her little red golf cart driving throughout the neighborhood.  Somebody donated strawberries and somebody else donated bananna bread.  She is confident that there are neighbors out there who would love to have some delicious cold strawberries this morning along with some home-baked bananna bread.  I'm not sure how long she'll be gone, but when she drives up, she'll be grinning from ear to ear and have some incredible story to tell me. 

I'm thankful for the opportunity I had to drive behind her and just watch this week.  I'm glad I got to just watch her do her thing.  She is definitely love in action.  She is the hands, feet, ears, and mouth of God.  If you are wondering what God the Father is like,  look no further than this lady I am honored to call my wife, driving around in a little red golf cart loving on her neighbors.  She's bringing a ray of hope in the middle of hopelessness.  She's bringing light into an otherwise dark situation.  She's bringing a meal, cold drinks, and a caring heart.  She's my wife, and she is AMAZING!

PS...not only was she grinning when she returned from her morning out serving her neighbors, she burst through the door singing.  And yes, she had some stories to tell!
Tim is the lead pastor at Westlake Fellowship in Montgomery, Texas. If you live in the area, join us Sunday mornings at 10:30 am at 19786 Hwy 105 Suite 120 in Montgomery (beside Magnolia Diner).

If you would like to donate to help us in our efforts to minister to those affected by hurricane Harvey, you can donate here:

Friday, September 8, 2017

The "Hurricane Harvey" Stories

As we've determined to help those affected by hurricane Harvey, we've met so many different types of people.  I've personally walked/driven up and down the streets of my neighborhood connecting with people, listening to their stories. I met a lady yesterday whose house served as a senior care facility for 8 senior citizens.  I met a Filipino family who were actually in the Philippines when Harvey hit and couldn't get back for several days to survey the damage to their home.  I met a military vet who had just moved his family in a month ago.  I met a couple who were renters and had just moved in the week prior to Harvey hitting.  I met a lady who is on the donor list for a liver transplant.  I met a family who had no friends or family in the area to help them start to begin the process of rebuilding.  I met a couple who had been through this process three times and were exhausted and just wanted to walk away.  I met a lady in her driveway with tears flowing down her cheeks overwhelmed by it all.  I met an elderly couple who when I offered them gift cards rejected them asking me to give them to someone else who needed them more.  I met a man whose house was up for sale and had a buyer but is now left with a house that took in nearly 10 feet of water.  I met a young man who had nearly 40 friends and family show up on day one to help him clean out his house so he sent some of those volunteers to his neighbors to help. I met a man who smiled and laughed the entire time I talked to him who was just happy his family was ok.  I met a single elderly man who was considering whether or not he was going to mess with rebuilding or just walk away.

There is so much "work" to be done here.  So much tearing out and rebuilding to be done.  It's not a quick fix.  This is going to take a long time.  I assume that some of these homes will not be rebuilt and some of these people will relocate permanently. While I can lift a hammer and carry out debris in a wheelbarrow, my demo skills and construction skills are limited.  I will definitely continue to do what I can do to help my neighbors rebuild their homes.  But in all my doing, I want to make sure that I take the time to pause for a moment to listen.  To listen to their story.  To take some time out to speak a word of hope and encouragement.  To slow down and pray with them, cry with them, and hug them.  I long to find out what they really need and do what I can to meet those needs.

I've heard several estimates as to how many homes have been damaged here in my neighborhood alone.  Anywhere from 350 to 450.  I'm not certain as to how many homes have been damaged but I can say for certain that hundreds of people have been affected.  Men, women, children, young and old have been affected by this. And each one has a story.  Our mission is not simply about rebuilding structures for our neighbors to live in.  Its much more personal than that.  It's about helping them pick up the pieces and begin again.  It's about meeting their overwhelming tragedy with an overwhelming love.  It's about helping them rebuild their lives!

Tim is the lead pastor at Westlake Fellowship in Montgomery, Texas. If you live in the area, join us Sunday mornings at 10:30 am at 19786 Hwy 105 Suite 120 in Montgomery (beside Magnolia Diner).

If you would like to donate to help us in our efforts to minister to those affected by hurricane Harvey, you can donate here:

Thursday, September 7, 2017

I Was Embarrassed

They had come all the way from Eagle Pass to help our neighbors here in Conroe clean up after hurricane Harvey.  These two Hispanic men had driven over 5 hours to help people they did not know.  Although they had been here since Monday, I just met them today (Thursday).  I worked all day along side of them tearing down sheet rock, shoveling up wet debris, and hauling it out to the curb.  Throughout the course of the day I found out a lot about this father and son team.

The father has spent most of his life as a missionary.  While he is currently involved with a shelter for homeless people in a border town, responding to crisis like Harvey is his thing.   For decades he's responded to tragic events like this.  While he and his son were here doing work this week, their mission was not to come for a few days and then go back home.  They were here to assess things then to return home in order to mobilize a team of people to come back.

I was amazed as the father shared stories of how he had spent his life responding to the needs of people in crisis situations.  I'm not sure how old the gentleman was but I'm thinking well into his 60s pushing 70.  I know I only got a small sampling of his life's work, but that small bit was incredible.  I asked his son if this had been the only life he had known to which he smiled and responded, "Yes.  It's been great though."

Most of what I discovered about them was during a short meal break.  Someone had come by offering jambalaya to the volunteers working in our neighborhood.  It was their first experience eating jambalaya but I'm thinking they're hooked.  They actually took one order for the road.

One of the things we've discovered is that in cleaning out houses after a flood, there isn't really anywhere to sit down.  All the chairs end up in the trash heap along with everything else.  Wanting to sit down and eat after being on their feet all day, these two men grabbed a couple of chairs from a neighboring garbage pile.  They were filthy chairs that had been covered in flood waters and sitting in a pile of trash for several days.  But, that didn't matter, they needed a place to sit for a moment and these chairs would do the job.

We went back to work for another hour or so before we were all wiped out.  As we were loading up our tools my two co-workers for the day were approached by a neighbor.  There was no, "Hello."  No, "Where are you guys from?"  No, "Thank you so much for serving our neighborhood."  Instead they were greeted with an accusation.  "You aren't stealing stuff from any of these piles are you?"

I was floored.  I couldn't believe it.  I was embarrassed.  I was completely embarrassed.  I quickly jumped into the conversation to defend them.  I couldn't help but notice that she didn't approach me.  She approached two men who looked different.  Two men who spoke a little different.  I took it a bit personal.  Though I had not known these men very long, I felt connected with them.  We had served together working side by side for a few hours.  They felt like family.  The accusation stung a bit and I wanted to set things right.  When I approached the older man and tried to apologize for the whole thing, he waved his hand and said it was no problem.  He came to serve because it was in his heart to do so. God had put compassion in his heart for our community and that's why he came.  He was not going to let this one little thing affect him.

I understand that emotions are high right now.  This community was hit with a major blow.  People have lost so much and they are trying to start again.  And I know there are those out there that would love to take advantage of those who are hurting.  What is abundantly evident though is that for every one of them there are thousands of others who have determined to help those in our communities who are in need.  In our assuming we would all do good to assume the best of people.

Juan and Mizrael were two of thousands that have hit our neighborhood this week to help us pick up the pieces that Harvey left behind.  They along with so many others didn't show up to take but to give.  If this lady had taken the time to get to know them, she would have discovered they would have been willing to do anything to give of themselves to her neighbors instead of take from them. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Batman and Robin?

I'm not sure but I think Batman and Robin might have stayed at our house last night.  It's hard to be certain because they weren't dressed in their typical superhero outfits.  They didn't even drive up in the famous batmobile.  It was dark when they arrived but I could clearly see that they drove up in a pickup truck hauling a boat behind them.

About an hour earlier I had received a phone call that two guys needed a place to shower and rest for the night.  They were out-of-towners who had spent the entire day from sun up to sun down rescuing people from the flood waters of hurricane Harvey.  They weren't kidding as taking a shower and resting is exactly what they did.  They shared a few stories with us but I discovered quickly that they hadn't come to town to chat and tell stories of their adventures.  They had come to town for one help those in need.  So after a brief chat they hurried off to bed and before the sun came up they were pulling out of the driveway.  They mentioned they had to get back home tonight so they only had the daylight hours of today to finish up what they came to do.

They claimed to be from Cleburne, Tx and talked with a bit of an accent to try and convince me but deep down something told me these guys might have been from a bit further away. Gotham City perhaps?  I don't know, maybe I'm wrong.  One thing I know for sure is that they were indeed superheroes.  The kind of superhero you would never recognize in passing.  They had no capes, or masks, or super-suits.  They looked like ordinary country boys from Texas.  They needed no fanfare and were perfectly content with nobody knowing who they were.  They were on a mission to rescue as many people as they could in the limited time they had.

Growing up I always thought superheroes were fictional characters.  But after last night I know they are real.  I know they are real because I saw them and talked to them.  Sure, maybe it wasn't Batman and Robin, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that two superheroes slept upstairs at my house last night.

Tim is the lead pastor at Westlake Fellowship in Montgomery, Texas.  If you live in the area, join us Sunday mornings at 10:30 am at 19786 Hwy 105 Suite 120 in Montgomery (beside Magnolia Diner).

If you would like to donate to help us in our efforts to minister to those affected by hurricane Harvey, you can donate here:

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Who Is The Greatest?

As I watched the finals of the NBA playoffs, I couldn't help but admire the skill level of some of those on the court.  These guys were a collection of amazing athletes.  Some of the best in the game today.  As it is in our world, players like these always give fuel to the debate of who is the greatest to every play the game.  Naturally, every year one team is crowned as the best in the league.  However, that status as the best becomes a bit more difficult to determine on an individual basis.  It is really a moot argument because every great athlete has his own strengths in weaknesses.  They all have different skill sets, physical attributes, and mental abilities.  One may have better court vision or speed.  Another may be a better shooter or rebounder.  One may be a better closer or clutch player.  It is impossible to definitively crown one man as the greatest.  We can all have our opinions but in the end, it is just that - an opinion.

Still, that debate will go on for all of time regardless of how futile the debate is.  Humanity is obsessed with the comparison game.  We learn it at an early age and we carry it to our grave.  It is a trap and we will all do good to recognize it as such. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying we shouldn't work to improve our skills, talents, and abilities.  I'm just indicating that when we assess our value based on how we measure up to others, we are approaching life in a way we were never meant to approach life.

Comparing ourself to others can indeed lead to a perverted value system. We will often end up seeing ourself as not measuring up to some while at the same time looking down at others.  That can lead to a inflated opinion of ourself or a feeling of inadequacy.  The basis for judgment will always be based on our values.  If we value education, we'll view those who have less than us as less than us.  If we value athletics, we'll value ourselves as better than those who aren't as athletic.  If we value money, then our basis of judgment will be the car we drive, the house we live in, and the clothes we wear.  If we value career, we'll compare ourselves to others based on our paycheck and benefit package.  If we value physical appearance we'll judge ourselves and others based on looks and amount of body fat.  If we value popularity, we'll become obsessed with how many Facebook friends we have compared to others.

So, who wins in those comparison games?  I can tell you this, that the one who loses is us.  Why is it not enough to simply be who we were created to be?  Why isn't it enough to live our lives determined to be the best at being who God created us to be?  When it all comes down to it, we were all created from the dust of the ground.  From the dust we came and from the dust we will go.  The thing that sets us apart from the dirt that lies below our feet is the breath of God that flows through our lungs.  Apart from that, we are nothing.  Apart from the life of God that was breathed into us, we all are nothing but a pathetic pile of dirt.  To think of ourselves as anything beyond that is to have an elevated opinion of ourselves.

Scripture declares that "we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them" (Ephesians 2:10). There is no such thing as a "self-made" man.  We are "His workmanship!"  We were created by a Master Designer.  II Corinthians 4:7, tells us that "we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us." Don't miss this!  The treasure is not the earthen vessel.  The treasure is what God has put inside of this earthen vessel.  We are all vessels created by Him.  Vessels with imperfections and inabilities.  We are vessels with different weaknesses and strengths.  Vessels with frailties and shortcomings.  We are vessels with chips and brokenness. Unfortunately, we spend our lives comparing this vessel, which is us, with those around us.  In doing so, we have failed to realize that our value is not determined in how we measure up to others.  Our true value is determined by the One who created us and by the treasure He has placed in us.  He has placed a treasure inside of us.  God, has poured Himself inside of these imperfect vessels.  So, instead of comparing the imperfections of our individual vessels, we would all do good to focus on the treasure that God has placed inside of us.

It is this "treasure" that took a man named Abraham from an idolatrous culture, who was incapable of having a son, and made him the "father of many nations."  It is this treasure that took an insecure, stuttering murderer named Moses and made him a deliver of a nation.  It is this treasure that took an insignificant shepherd boy named David and empowered him to be a king.  It is this treasure that took an orphaned girl named Esther and made her queen over a foreign nation.  It is this treasure that took an ordinary young lady named Mary and made her capable of giving birth to the Messiah.  It is this treasure that took a simple carpenter named Joseph and entrusted him the raise God's only Son.  It is this treasure that empowered Peter, a man who always stuck his foot in his mouth, to speak one day and thousands were added to the family of God.  It is this treasure that took a man possessed by a legion of demons and transformed him into an evangelist.  It is this treasure that empowered a persecutor of the church named Paul to become one of the greatest leaders of the early church.

I don't know who the greatest player to ever play in the NBA is.  Was it Jordan?  Is it LeBron?  Is it now Durant? I have my opinion, but in the end it is completely irrelevant.  What I do know is that while they can run, jump, shoot and dunk a basketball, they can't make a pile of dirt breath. They can't speak and a universe come into being.  They can't pull off their own resurrection.  So, while the world sits around debating who the greatest player in the NBA is, we know beyond a shadow of a doubt who the "Greatest" truly is.  We know Who it is that has been given the "Name above all Names."  So, since we've established that, perhaps we can turn our attention to something more important.  Something like trying desperately to discover the treasure that God has hidden inside of these earthen vessels.  A treasure that transforms the ordinary into the extraordinary.

For more on how God uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary, watch "Out of the Ordinary" below:

You can also join us live on Facebook, this Sunday at 10:30am.

If you live in or near Montgomery, TX, we would love to have you join us on Sunday mornings at 10:30. Westlake Fellowship is located at 19786 Suite 120, Hwy 105 in Montgomery. (beside Magnolia Diner)

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Need A Miracle?

She was a lady who was in dire straits.  She needed a miracle and she needed it quick.  This was a matter of life and death.  If she does not get her miracle, death is certain.  She, along with her son, will die.  Other than her desperate need for heavenly intervention, we do not know a great deal about this woman.  As a matter of fact, we do not even know her name.  She is known only as the widow from Zarephath.

This woman is just an ordinary woman with a massive need.  There has been a drought in the land resulting in famine.  Her current condition is such that she has enough food for one more meal.  Her plan is to fix this final meal for her son and herself.  After which they will simply wait for the inevitable - death by starvation.

While her story, found in I Kings 17, does not go into much detail regarding her relationship with God, we are told that God commanded her to provide for Elijah the prophet of God (v. 9).  Now, I'm not sure how all of this played out exactly, but I've got to believe that this woman is praying and hoping that God will perform a miracle for her and her son.  However, the answer she gets from heaven is not the miracle she is expecting.  Rather than God sending someone to her front door with bags of groceries, a hungry man shows up. She's hoping for provision but instead she's got another mouth to feed.

I'm not sure about you, but if I'm in this widow's shoes, I might be just a little miffed at this point.  Her need is real.  It's as real as Elijah's.  She needs somebody to provide for her just as bad as Elijah needs somebody to provide for him.  Yet, in the middle of her need, God has instructed her to meet somebody else's need.  She seems to be struggling a bit with God on this matter.  From the text, we see that prior to God sending Elijah to her, God has already commanded her to provide for him.  That's important to note because when Elijah arrives, she's had a few days to ponder this request of the Lord.  Their initial conversation seems to indicate she has a bit of an attitude concerning the idea of providing him with food.  

So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, indeed a widow was there gathering sticks. And he called to her and said, “Please bring me a little water in a cup, that I may drink.” And as she was going to get it, he called to her and said, “Please bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.” So she said, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”  (I Kings 17:10-12 NKJV)

I'm thinking her response sounds much like mine would have been.  "I've been praying for a miracle of provision and instead of a miracle, you show up asking me for provision! I thought you were a mighty man of God!  Is it just me, or is this backwards???  Shouldn't you, as a might man of God, be supernaturally providing for me?"  

One of the biggest issues when it comes to our needs is that we often can't see past them.  We become oblivious to the world around us.  We become self absorbed.  Our needs become paramount, while the needs of others become trivial. While we want the world to know how desperate our needs are, we do not really care to know about the plight of others.   

Much of our prayer life is little more than a one-sided conversation.  A monologue if you will.  While we are quick to present God with our petitions, we aren't always willing to hear what His are for the day. We are great talkers, but not so great at listening.  God was well aware of this widow's need and was willing to perform a miracle on her behalf.  The process was not a practical one though. And therein lies the problem.

God doesn't always do things the way we want Him to do them.  Much of the time our miracle lies on the the other side of obedience.  Naaman the leper wasn't healed until he dipped in the Jordan 7 times.  Healing didn't come after the 3rd dip, or the 5th dip.  It came after the 7th dip.  The Red Sea did not split open until Moses stretched his hands out over it.  The flood didn't come until Noah built the ark.  The walls of Jericho did not fall until Joshua and the people marched around the city and shouted.  Peter did not walk on water until he stepped out of the boat.  Lazarus was not raised from the dead until they rolled the stone away.  There was no resurrection until Jesus was "obedient" to death on a cross.  

This widow's miracle was dependent on her obedience.  Obedience that made no sense.  Obedience to something that would stretch her.  She and her son would be provided for supernaturally only when she was willing to provide for someone else.  When assured by the prophet that God would provide for her, she stepped out and obeyed.  She took of the little she had and gave to Elijah as the Lord had instructed her to.  As a result, a miracle came to her house.  For the entire duration of the drought/famine, her household had plenty of food. Not only would her obedience provide a miracle of provision for her and her son, but Elijah would be provided for as well as he stayed there for an extended period of time.  

Perhaps you are in need of a miracle.  Perhaps you have prayed and prayed and prayed and it seems like God is not listening.  Perhaps the reason your miracle isn't coming is because you aren't listening to Him.  I want to challenge you to take some time and listen to what God is saying.  When you hear from Him, then determine to obey.  Who knows, maybe your miracle is waiting on your obedience.   

For more on how God uses the ordinary to do the extraordinary, watch "Out of the Ordinary - Part Three" below:

You can also join us live on Facebook, this Sunday at 10:30am.

If you live in or near Montgomery, TX, we would love to have you join us on Sunday mornings at 10:30. Westlake Fellowship is located at 19786 Suite 120, Hwy 105 in Montgomery. (beside Magnolia Diner)

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Have You Ever Lost A Family Member?

Have you ever lost a family member?  Regardless of whether you expected it or it came as a complete shock, losing someone is never an easy thing to deal with.  I know.  I've been there.  On several occasions I've had family members that I love very dearly pass away.  They were here one moment and gone the next.

Last week I awakened to the headlines that a group of Egyptian Christians were killed.  They were on their way to a prayer meeting when they were attacked.  Men, women, and children all died because they believe in Jesus.  I sat there staring at that headline and I hurt inside.  I thought to myself how often I read of tragedies like that and waste little time thinking about it.  Most of the time, I feel sad for a few moments but hey, life goes on.  I've got things to do, people to see.  So, I just dive into the everyday madness and go on with life.

This day, however it was different.  I thought to myself, as believers, these are family members.  Nevermind, the theological or doctrinal differences, these are fellow followers of Christ who were murdered because they believe in the same Jesus that I do.  There is a bond that we should have because we've all been adopted into the same family.  On this particular day, I couldn't just move on with life.  As a matter of fact, much of what my life is filled with disgusted me in that moment.  Things I value, things I hold as important, things I worry or stress about, seemed to pale in comparison to just being alive. I woke up on that day not even considering being hated so much for my faith that I would be killed for it.  I woke up on that day, not at all worried about the possibility of my kids growing up without their dad or my wife living without her totally amazing, hunk of a husband.  No, I woke up complaining about the aches in my back.  I awakened concerned about the bills I have to pay, the yard I need to mow, my ever increasing to-do list, and how hot it was going to be.

Somehow my problems didn't matter for the next few minutes.  As I read the story, I was reminded of how good my life is.  I was reminded that I can preach something on Sunday morning and not worry about my head still being attached on Monday.  I was reminded that the petty problems I face in a given day can't compare to the horrors that believers face all over this world.  I was reminded that death is not stalking me every waking moment because of my faith.  I was reminded how much I take my freedom for granted.  And I was reminded how disconnected I can become to the plight of my fellow believers throughout the world.

I watched over the course of the next few days as some posted this story as a political statement.  I thought to myself how that cheapens the real story here.  These murdered Christians didn't set out to give us fuel for some pathetic political debate.  They weren't trying to make the headlines on that particular day.  They spent their lives not ashamed of the Jesus they served even though it meant risking their very lives.  They woke up on that day, no different than any other.  They weren't trying to be martyrs, heroes, or famous.  They were determined to live; to truly live.  To live the kind of life, God designed for us to live. They did not need the comforts we have in America to live for Christ.  They did not need a smokin' worship band, cushioned seats, a/c, and a great preacher in order to show up to worship the God they served.  The very fact that they were associated with Christ brought the reality that tomorrow was not promised to them.  Yet, they served Him anyway.  They woke up on that day, not ashamed of Jesus and they would lay down their lives because it.  I'm thinking the headlines should be less about the tragedy of their death and more about their incredible faith and how they lived it day in and day out.

I know that I'll go on with life.  Here, in America, we all will.  We'll order our next $3.00 latte, kick back and watch the next big movie to come out, and argue about who is the greatest basketball player to ever play the game.  We'll argue about politics, complain about the weather, and be offended by something petty in church. And, on the other side of the world, there will be a believer who will not make it through the day because somebody hates them so much because they are a member of our family. I pray that in our "getting back" to life, we will not get back to life as normal.  I'm praying that we'll stop and think about what we've got and how great we've got it.  I'm praying that we'll complain a little less, be thankful a great deal more, and take advantage of the freedom we've been afforded.  But most of all, I'm praying that we'll be more aware of our family members who are being persecuted daily.